Several central Arkansas areas are experiencing flash flooding and heavy rainfall, and tornado watches have been issued for five southern counties on Saturday morning, the National Weather Service in Little Rock said.
Areas along a line from Benton to Little Rock to Searcy have received at least 2 inches of rain, with some areas receiving 4 inches of rain, according to the service. Several roads in Little Rock have been closed due to the flash flooding, and additional flash flooding is expected to occur.
Little Rock city spokesman Ben Thielemier said roads that are closed are Alexander Road, east of Vimy Ridge Road, and the gates at Boyle Park and Kanis Park.
"We encourage everyone to take extreme caution when on roads today as they are likely to be very slick and possibly flooded," he said.
Flash flood warnings have been posted for several state counties, including: Cleburne, Conway, Faulkner, Lonoke, Perry, Pulaski, Saline, Stone, Van Buren, White and Woodruff.
Flooding is likely to occur in places, including small creeks, streams, highways, underpasses and other low lying areas, the service said.
Tornado watches have been issued for five counties in south Arkansas, and they are: Ashley, Chicot, Columbia, Lafayette and Union.
John Robinson, the service's warning coordination meteorologist, said Arkansas areas that are in the 60s — specifically those that are in the 70s — will have severe weather potential.
"This pretty much translates into the severe weather threat being in parts of eastern, southeastern and south central Arkansas," he said.
Damaging winds will present the main threat, but isolated tornadoes could occur, according to Robinson. The likelihood of severe weather and heavy rain will diminish as a cold front that entered the state from northwest on Friday will leave Arkansas on Saturday evening.